I have just celebrated my birthday and (as I usually do in the weeks prior) I spent some time reflecting on the past year and acknowledging what I had created and experienced. I started thinking about things I had let go of and relationships that have changed and I felt a stab of regret. Wondering if I could have made some different choices and had some different outcomes, wondering a lot of “if only …” and “what if…” and I felt sad. And rather than push it aside, “cheer myself up” or distract myself, I decided to sit in my regret and see what emerged.
I felt flat and unmotivated to do very much and it took about a week before my energy shifted. When it did, I realised that my regret came from not owning my choice in the first place. Not being responsible for choosing what I had chosen meant I felt like I “should” have done something different. When I reflected upon my choices at the time, they were the best choices I felt I could make. In the moment of choosing, I made my choice from the whole of what was going on for me at the time. My choices are always the best I can do in the moment and no amount of regret will change what has already occurred.
What will change what happens next is how I respond, what my next choice is and if my next choice is informed out of fear from the past, I’ll probably end up regretting it later too! However, if my next choice is informed out of my loving vision of possibility, out of my decision to BE who I choose to BE, while I do whatever I choose to do … then regret has no space to show up.
I felt a huge shift in my energy and peace reigned once more. The icing on the cake (couldn’t resist!) was my birthday … cards, flowers, emails, text messages, phone calls, gifts and lots of hugs, acknowledgement and great food with dear friends. And I felt grateful for being me, the way I am today … no regrets.
To regret the past is to forfeit the futureChinese Proverb